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Stockton's Mayor Anthony Silva Says He's Black

STOCKTON (CBS13) - Stockton's mayor has a reputation of making unusual and controversial statements.

Last night in a debate of Stockton mayoral candidates, Mayor Anthony Silva said he was Stockton's first black mayor.

Silva is white.

Today, he stands by that statement.

On Thursday, members of Stockton's NAACP and Black Women Organized for Political Action hosted the candidates for Stockton's mayoral election.

ALSO READ: Mayor Silva's Electronics Confiscated After Returning From China Trip

Our camera had stopped rolling when candidate Councilman Michael Tubbs said he was surprised the diverse city never had a black mayor. That's when mayor Silva said he was the city's first black mayor.

"I think I said, I'm not African American, but I'm pretty darn close. Quite frankly, I could be determined to be the first African-American mayor of Stockton. And the audience got a bit excited," said Mayor Silva.

Tubbs wasn't surprised by Silva's remark.

"Honestly, I think he was joking, so I wasn't really offended. I was more offended by most of the policies he's proposing whether it's the sagging ordinance to get cops to police young men in how they wear their pants, as if they don't have more important things to do. To me that's more offensive," said Tubbs.

Silva offered this explanation: "For the last 15 years, I've been mentoring numerous South Stockton youth, and each and every summer, I hire African-American lifeguards. If you ask folks around town, African-American leaders, they'll tell you the mayor works with African Americans."

What does Stockton's African-American community think about the mayor's comment?

"He is a black mayor. I don't care what anybody says, he's a black mayor," said lifeguard and Silva supporter Robert McNeal.

"Anthony has done more for black candidates and black people in general, and in making appointments of people of color than any politician we ever had," said Ralph White, a former Stockton councilman.

The leader of Black Women Organized for Political Action says she was not offended by the mayor's comments and said she's known him to work well with African-American organizations in Stockton.

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